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Whitehead and Theurgy

To: alt.magick.tyagi,alt.christnet,alt.magick,alt.occult,talk.religion.newage,talk.religion.misc,alt.religion.christian
From: (nocTifer)
Subject: Whitehead and Theurgy (was Esoteric Christianity)
Date: 13 Jan 1999 02:58:32 -0800

49980607 aa3!  Hail Satan

peace be upon you, my kin.

# Ok we have mentioned the Whitehead interview in Gnosis  Number 45 
# Fall 1997, about Esoteric Christianity.  

didn't RevMa Lainie provide several quotes to which I responded?
I thought her analysis was very interesting.

quotes from it:
# "Esoteric Christianity is ... becoming a Mediator of Spiritual Energy 
# ...magical or theurgical Christianity is concerned with mediating the 
# divine energies to the outer world through a connection with the 
# magical realm, the inner side of Creation."

'esoteric' literally means 'of a small group' or, conventionally,
'of a special character known to such a small group (such as by
virtue of being technical)'.  thus 'esoteric Christianity' just
means 'a type of Christianity reserved for or participated in by
a small group'.  

the present climate of intolerance surrounding liberal and mystical
forms of Christianity may inspire the formation of such esoterics.
this may be on account of dealing with 'sensitive' or 'controversial'
data, imagery or concepts that the conventional Christian finds too
difficult to handle (possibly 'heretical' or 'blasphemous' if she
accepts such categories, or merely too 'powerful' or 'advanced').

magical and theurgical categories might differ substantially rather
than being unified in this way.  the mage might be invested by the
God, for example, with the power to emanate the power and energy
*hirself* (rather than having to get it from some other source or
to 'mediate' it, whatever this includes).

granted their confluence, 'mediation' tends to imply a distance
between the source, the channel and the effect.  if one identifies
a flow from one area to another, then this implies that what one
is channelling is somehow *lacking* in the destination (else it
might not be able to sustain addition -- this could be taken to
mean that the Creation lacks 'spiritual energy').

'the magical realm, the inner side of Creation' seems very vague
to me.  perhaps I am insuffiiciently studied to make sense of it.
# "...what we are talking about here is the actual mediation of forces 
# or energies."

instead of the *imagined* mediation of forces of energies?  what
would be the difference?  what if the imagination causes important
changes inside us or inspires us to do other things in response to
our perceptions of having achieved it?

# What do we all think of those quotes?  

valuable, but somewhat vague and limited in description.  how does
one prepare for this mediation?  are certain individuals prone to
greater success at it than others?  what are the practical constants
necessary to achieving it (if any)?  are there legends and 'facts'
about it which are overgeneralized as formulae for success?  how
much of what is claimed about it are cultural standards rather than
principles of unchanging structure?

# Very interesting and hopefully going to the heart of the matter. 

is there a magick which is not Christian?  doesn't all power come
from the divine?  I agree that the quotations you provided speak
to the central focus of this elist, which is why I have responded.

# Whitehead states it is more than mysticism.   

interesting.  I was planning to quote this in response to another
post, but here you are mentioning the subject directly:

	Mysticism is not a belief.  It is a matter of
	direct experience resulting from interior
	illumination, now and then -- though not often --
	arising spontaneously.  More usually it results from
	persistence in certain religious practices, such as
	meditation, for instance.


	The mystic attainment may be defined as the Union
	of the Soul with God, or as the soul's realization
	of Itself, or -- but there are fifty phrases to
	define the attainment.  Whether you are a Christian
	or a Buddhist, a Theist or an Atheist, the attainment
	of this state is as open to you as is nightmare, or
	madness, or intoxication.  Religious folk have buried
	this fact under mountains of dogma; but the study of
	comparative religion has made it clear.  One has
	merely to print passages from the mystics of all
	ages and religions to see that they were talking of
	the same thing.  One even gets verbal identities,
	such as the "That *tao* which is *tao* is not *tao*"
	of the Chinese, the "Not That, not That" of the
	Hindu, the "Head which is above all Heads, the Head
	which is not a Head" of the Qabalist, and the "That
	is not, which is" of a modern atheistic or pantheistic

	Mysticism, unless it be a mere barren intellectual
	doctrine, always involves some personal religious
	experience of this kind; and the real strength of
	every religion lies, consequently, in its mystics.
	The conviction of truth given by any important
	spiritual experience is so great that although it
	may have lasted for a few seconds only, it does not
	hesitate to pit itself against the experience of a
	lifetime, in respect of reality.  The mystic doubts
	whether he, the man, exists at all, because he is
	so certain of the existence of him, the God; and
	the two beings are difficult to conceive intellectually
	as co-existent!


	The method of a mystic in proclaiming his "Law" is
	always the same.  He takes one single, simple,
	fundamental, revolutionary remark, and makes the
	Universe obey it.  Thus Mohammed with his "There is
	one God."  The rest is but the harvest of that seed.
	So also Buddha with his denial of the *atman*, the
	cardinal doctrine of the Hindus; he puts his finger
	on the one essential of the system which he seeks
	to destroy, and the whole system explodes.  A modern
	instance is the saying "Do what thou wilt shall be
	the whole of the Law.  Love is the law, love under

	For mysticism at its best may be defined as Genius
	on a Religious plane.  And all genius consists of
	two parts: one, the capacity to see, hear and feel
	everything in the world with accuracy; and two,
	the power to distill this impression to a quintessence,
	and pour it forth as a perfume.  It interprets every
	phenomenon as a direct dealing of God with the soul,
	and it creates from each phenomenon an image of glory,
	radiates it and spreads it over the universe.

	Shelley has voiced the portrait of a true mystic in
	a single stanza:

		He will watch from dawn to gloom
		The Lake-reflected sun illume
		The yellow bees in the ivy-bloom,
		Nor heed nor see, what things they be
		But from these create he can
		Forms more real than living man,
		Nurslings of immortality!

		[from _Prometheus Unbound_, PB Shelley -- nocT]

	This is the keynote of all mystics, that their analysis
	of the Universe ultimates in Deity.  The consciousness
	is no longer human, but divine.  Country and language
	hardly vary the very expression.


	The Saviour's instructions to his disciples to "take
	no thought for the morrow," {Matt. 6:34} to "abandon
	father and mother and all other things," {Mark 10:28-30,
	Matt. 19:29, paraphrase} "not to have two cloaks,"
	{Matt. 10:10.  Mark 6:9, Luke 9:3, paraphrase} "not to
	resist evil," {Matt. 5:39, paraphrase} are merely the
	ordinary rules of every eastern and western mystic.

	A/B both from _The Revival of Magick_, by Aleister
	  Crowley, New Falcon w/ OTO, 1998; within "Mystics 
	  and Their Little Ways" and "The Attainment of 
	  Happiness" as reprinted therein, pp. 64-7, 72-4. 

# Interested in comments:  Doc Fox

thanks for the opportunity, Doc.  I feel that separating mysticism
from magick is a wise move, but that doing so in description of a
particular TYPE of magical effect is too limiting to the meaning
that magick can have.

instead I favor the notions of the classical Hermetics who indicate
that magick is the intentional effecting of some change (some say
'of consciousness', others 'in accordance with the Will' (of God),
and some leave this ambiguous to include all manner of making.

I would say that mysticism is a SPECIAL CASE OF MAGICK, in that it
effects the proper or powerful connection with the divine with the
attendant results following.  as a definition for THEURGY, that
described by White suffices, but 'magical Christianity' is a poor
and vague sort of phrase describing a flavor of the religion moreso
than the Act taken by the Adept.

instead I would say 'magical Christianity' is that sort of
Christianity that INCLUDES magick as part of its accepted elements
or principles, and that theurgy is the mediation of the God to the
Creation (participating in the Creation if you like).  it takes
magick to effect theurgy, but theurgy itself is not magick (except
that of the God, whose Work is the miracle).  

instead, thaumaturgy (as in the preparation for theurgy by the 
conservative or the effecting of change oneself as the agent of 
the divine) is what I would say rightly conforms to conventional
notions of what 'magick' consists.
blessed beast!

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